Hit & Run: A Missed Opportunity for the (Episcopal) Church

Paradoxical Thoughts

Opportunity Missed and Taken Green Road Sign and Clouds

By the Rev. Ken Howard

[Updated on May 28, 2015 to reflect more recent developments.]

It was five months ago today in Baltimore that Heather Cook, the newly installed Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, while drinking and driving (and texting), struck and killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo…and left the scene…twice. Since that time Bishop Heather was charged with vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving, distracted driving, and hit and run. The Bishop of Maryland asked for her resignation. The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church convened a Title IV disciplinary investigation. Ultimately, the three reached a settlement in which Cook resigned her episcopal position and voluntarily agreed to be “defrocked” (i.e., deposed from her ordination) and the disciplinary investigation ended. It is said that “the wheels of criminal justice turn slowly,” but since the facts are not in dispute, it seems likely that Heather Cook will be convicted, will serve time, and that justice…

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